March 27, 2019

Moore Bringing Syracuse Up-Tempo Style In Taking the Helm of PDS Boys’ Lacrosse

CO-STARRING: Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse player Coby Auslander eludes a foe in action last spring. Senior standout and Christopher Newport University-bound Auslander brings skill and competitive fire for a PDS program that has won three straight Mercer County Tournament titles. The Panthers start the 2019 season by playing at Hun on March 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

During his days at WW/P-North High, Joe Moore enjoyed a transformative experience as he competed for the True North club lacrosse program.

“I look back my high school days and somebody that was huge influence for me on and off the field was Chris Sanderson,” said Moore, referring to the founder of True North who was a Canadian national team goalie and a star at Virginia who lost a valiant battle with brain cancer, dying in 2012 at age 38. “I think about him everyday and the impact he had on me.”

This spring, Moore will be looking to have a similar impact on some local high school players as he takes the helm of the Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse program after serving as an assistant in 2018 to Rich D’Andrea, who stepped down after last season.

“Rich gave me an opportunity last year to get a feel for the PDS lacrosse program,” said Moore, who did a post-graduate year at Trinity Pawling (N.Y.) after his career at WW/P-N and then went on to star in the midfield for the Syracuse University men’s program, helping the Orange win the NCAA title in 2009. “The idea was for me was to learn the ropes from Rich.”

In taking over for D’Andrea, Moore is applying some of the lessons he learned from his Syracuse experience.

“All four years were really special,” said Moore, 30, who works as the Facility
Manger and Director of Lacrosse at the Centercourt Club in Lawrenceville.

“Playing at that level, you learn to compete on and off the field. You have that competitive edge to you which I have tried to carry to my everyday life.”

In addition, Moore plans to incorporate some of the Syracuse run-and-gun approach into the program.

“I have my style that I got from Syracuse; if we can push transition, we are going to push transition,” said Moore, who took the team on its annual spring training trip to Florida earlier this month.

“I tell the kids all the time that everybody on the field needs to be comfortable scoring goals. Our defensemen practice shooting, our goalies practice shooting, everybody is involved.”

Moore will be looking for senior attacking midfielder and Christopher Newport University-bound Coby Auslander to make an impact at both ends of the field.

“Coby is definitely going to be an all-arounder for us,” said Moore of Auslander, who starred last strong as the Panthers went 10-5 and won their third straight Mercer County Tournament title.

“Coming off of hockey season, he is in shape. His stick looks really strong. We will have him starting at that attack spot and will be using him all over the place.”

Juniors Cal Caputo and Jake Bennett also provide offensive punch. “They have a very strong game; if we are throwing a play out there and they see something, they have the green light to do something on their own,” said Moore.

“Cal is an unbelievable inside finisher. Jake can shoot the heck out of the ball and he can find Cal in all different places.”

In the midfield, PDS will be featuring sophomore Drew McConaughy and senior Jimmy O’Connor.

“We have Drew there and he is going to have a big year,” said Moore. “Jimmy is senior captain with a big body. He is another guy similar to Cody, we can use him all around as a utility guy going both ways.”

Senior Sam Bernardi and sophomore Gibson Linnehan figure to spearhead the Panther defensive unit.

“Sam is a senior captain this year, he is going to be the anchor of our defense,” said Moore. “Gibson Linnehan will be alongside him; we will play with Gibby in terms of having him at longstick middie or close defense. We will rely on those two guys.”

PDS been relaying on senior star goalie Connor Green for the last four years as its last line of defense.

“Connor is unbelievable; he is seeing everything right now and his confidence is through the roof,” said Moore. “We have spent a ton of time this preseason on outlet passes and clearing in general. He is going to have a good year. He is in a very good spot right now, he had a great trip last week. He is going to be another anchor on this team.”

With a squad that doesn’t boast a lot of depth, Moore needs all of his players to contribute mentally and physically.

“It is going to be about how we respond to adversity. We don’t play 100 kids; we have a small number of kids so we need everybody to do their part day in, day out,” said Moore.

“The key to success for us is going to be when we hit those hard points in games or in the season in general and how we respond. I have told them a million time ‘KYP’ — know your personnel, know your teammates. It is knowing the other other guys strong points and weak points and making adjustments accordingly.”

The Panthers will be looking for a successful opener as they play at crosstown rival Hun on March 28 to start the 2019 campaign.

“We are going into Hun with a ton of confidence,” said Moore. “They are a super strong program and it is a huge rivalry for us. I know our kids will get up for it.”